An innovative experience for the training of PPGZOOL students is the annual post-graduation week. The main function of this event is the monitoring of the work of the students, who must present the advances of their academic research to a board of external and internal professors. However, this occasion has become extremely rich from the pedagogical point of view, as it provides an opportunity to obtain experiences in oral presentations and exposure to an extremely critical academic environment. The event is held annually.
Academic Formation of Program Professors
The professors of PPGZOOL constantly seek to improve their scientific qualification, keeping up to date with the state of the art of their respective specialties. This is reflected not only in the increasing quality of the scientific output of the Program, but also in the constant updating of the content delivered to the students. The classes given in both areas of concentration are based on the current contents, which address, in addition to theoretical questions whose understanding is fundamental for the training of the zoologist, also practical activities that lead to the deepening of the pedagogical exercise and the establishment of the necessary conditions for the academic work. Among the several examples of innovative training experiments carried out at PPGZOOL, two are the teaching of the Zoological Nomenclature, through practical exercises of a playful nature, in the Concentration Area Evolution of Biodiversity, and the application of the field course in ecology, in the Conservation and Ecology Concentration Area.
One of the basic requirements for the training of systematists is the understanding of the rules of zoological nomenclature. Without the understanding of this set of rules, established by the Zoological Nomenclature Code, the student is unable to carry out a project that involves the description of species or the revision of a genus. Traditionally, these contents are passed on to the students in an arid, expositive way, through case studies. In the discipline "Principles of Zoological Systematics" these contents are taught by means of a practical exercise that simulates a real taxonomic revision. After an initial class, where the best practices of taxonomic composition and presentation of nomenclature changes in publications are emphasized, students are invited to perform a highly structured exercise, which involves the elaboration of alternative classification hypotheses for a pre-determined of nails, screws and other metallic materials. This exercise allows the simulation of all the steps of a real taxonomic revision, from the examination and designation of type-material to the attribution of binomial nomenclature, transfers of species from one genus to another and synonymization of taxa. As a result, students gain a practical insight into the rules of zoological nomenclature, which facilitates the execution of the actual taxonomic work to be developed in their Dissertations and Theses.
One of the greatest challenges for ecology teaching is the need to reduce the distance between theories and research practice, developing in students the skills needed to elaborate the questions relevant to the understanding of complex ecological relationships and the correct data collection in the field. In the subject "Field Ecology Course", PPGZOOL students have the opportunity to benefit directly from the practical experience of faculty ecologists. The field ecology course is taught at the Ferreira Penna Science Station, 400 km from the city of Belém, maintained by the Goeldi Museum. This station combines a complete research infrastructure with direct access to one of the best preserved stretches of terra firme forest in the Brazilian Eastern Amazon. It is an advanced course whose main objective is to train young researchers in the preparation and execution of fieldwork. Students in the course are guided by teachers during short studies (oriented projects). In the last days of the course, each student develops an individual project, including planning, collecting, data analysis and writing. As a result, at the end of the course students are able to discuss sampling and experimental design techniques, as well as collecting and analyzing data, testing hypotheses, and generating scientific papers.